Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. PF 1.3 Proportion of families containing children

04/01/1997

Since 1960, Americans have been moving toward having families with fewer children. Indeed, a growing percentage of families have no minor children of their own in their household. Between 1960 and 1996, the percentage of families with four or more own children under age 18 in the household decreased from nine percent to three percent (see Figure PF 1.3). During the same period, the proportion of families with no minor children grew from 43 percent to 51 percent.

Differences by Race and Ethnicity. These general trends are also evident when white, black, and Hispanic families are considered separately, though the levels are substantially different for each group (see Table PF 1.3). For example, between 1970 and 1996 the percentage of black families with four or more children dropped from 19 percent to five percent. The percentage for whites during that period went from nine percent to three percent. For Hispanic families, the percentage dropped from ten percent to seven percent between 1980 (the first year for which Hispanic estimates are available) and 1996.

Black and Hispanic families were considerably less likely than white families to be without any minor children, with proportions of 43 percent, 36 percent, and 52 percent, respectively in 1996. They were also both more likely than white families to have four or more children, though these differences were smaller than in previous decades.

 

Figure PF 1.3  
Percentage of Families with No Children, and With Four or More Resident Children: 19601996

FIGPF1_3.GIF

Source: Estimates for 1960 - 1996 from Household and Family Characteristics, Current Population Reports, Series P-20 for various years.
 

Table PF 1.3 
Percentage Distribution of Families by Number of Own Children Under 18 Years of Age: 19601996

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1960
1970
1980
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
 
 
                   
All Families
 
Without own children
43
44
48
51
51
51
51
50
51
51
 
One child
19
18
21
21
20
20
20
20
20
20
 
2 children
18
17
19
19
19
18
19
19
19
19
 
3 children
11
11
8
7
7
7
7
8
7
7
 
4 or more children
9
10
4
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
 
 
                   
White Families
 
Without own children
43
45
49
51
53
53
53
52
52
52
 
One child
19
18
21
21
19
20
19
19
20
19
 
2 children
18
18
19
19
18
18
19
19
19
19
 
3 children
11
11
8
7
7
7
7
7
7
7
 
4 or more children
9
9
4
3
3
3
2
2
2
3
 
 
                   
Black Families 
 
Without own children
 
39
38
41
41
42
42
40
42
43
 
One child
 
18
23
25
25
24
25
25
24
24
 
2 children
 
15
20
19
19
19
18
20
20
18
 
3 children
 
10
10
9
9
10
10
9
9
9
 
4 or more children
 
19
8
6
6
5
5
5
5
5
 
 
                   
Hispanic Families 
 
Without own children
 
 
31
37
36
36
37
36
36
36
 
One child
 
 
23
23
22
22
23
22
23
23
 
2 children
 
 
23
21
23
22
22
23
23
23
 
3 children
 
 
13
12
12
13
12
13
12
12
 
4 or more children
 
 
10
7
7
7
7
6
7
7
                       

Source: Estimates for 1960 - 1996 from "Household and Family Characteristics," Current Population Reports, Series 
P-20 for various years.

 

 

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